January 8, 2021

Digital Equity Planning Committee Seeks Consultant for Digital Inclusion Plan

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many of the inequities that have existed in our community for generations. One of the most prevalent issues that has come to light is the digital divide. When individuals have access to broadband internet access in their home as well as the devices and knowledge to utilize them, it can have a positive impact on virtually every aspect of their lives, improving their educational attainment and opportunities, as well as their ability to obtain and retain gainful employment, maintain important human interactions and connections, and manage their healthcare without the risk of exposure.

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Digital Equity Planning Committee is seeking a consultant to help guide its efforts to create a comprehensive digital inclusion plan for Forsyth County to make access to high speed internet a reality for local residents. Please help us share the Request for Proposal (RFP) below. The deadline to submit a proposal is February 5.

Request for Proposals 

The Digital Equity Steering Committee of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County seeks a consultant to assist with the creation of a county-wide digital equity plan. The Digital Equity Steering Committee is an assemblage of community members and representatives of the public, private, and nonprofit sector who have come together around the goal of achieving greater digital equity throughout the community. We recognize that a lot of these skill sets may not be housed in a single or individual institution; we welcome proposals from consultant partners or other collaborative entities.

There are five main components of digital inclusion that must be addressed in order to close the digital divide within a community:

  1. Access to affordable, robust broadband Internet service
  2. Internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user
  3. Access to digital literacy training
  4. Quality technical support
  5. Applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency and participation
  • Work alongside Digital Equity Planning Committee members to create a comprehensive, implementable plan.  
  • Conduct research in the form of listening sessions, meetings, or other convenings to understand the barriers that local residents face in accessing or utilizing broadband internet in the home.  
  • Conduct research to understand current access to broadband, device access, internet speed, and digital literacy across the community.
  • Engage local stakeholders to solicit input and feedback on the key elements of a potential plan.
  • Identify key policies at the local level that could positively or negatively impact digital equity.  
  • Apply a racial equity lens and an asset-based approach to all planning work.  
  • Identify a process to interact with Steering Committee members and incorporate their knowledge and expertise into the planning process.  
  • Identify key stakeholders and ways to engage them in the planning process.

Time Commitment:

Three to six months to be determined by the consultant. Time estimates should include research and data collection, in-depth community engagement, development of a drafted plan, and subsequent conversations and revisions.  

  • Strong project management skills 
  • Excellent organization and communication skills 
  • Inclusive facilitation methods that account for power dynamics in a group 
  • Creative facilitation (such as design thinking) is a plus. 
  • Commitment to racial equity and gathering diverse perspectives
  • Awareness of systemic factors that impact digital equity
  • Ability to work well with a diverse collaborative group

Desired Outcomes:

The committee’s objective is to identify a consultant with the necessary background and experience to understand and navigate the complex systems that impact digital equity, including but not limited to, racial equity, socio-economic factors, digital infrastructure, and public policy. The goal is to create a plan that will address all five components of digital equity.

A well-imagined plan will enable all local residents across the community to access and effectively use the technology necessary to participate in modern society. Access to broadband internet services in the home has positive implications for an individual or family’s ability to receive a sound education, access online resources including telehealth and online services, search, apply for, or obtain work or work-related training opportunities, and access the information needed to be an informed and engaged member of society.  


The Digital Equity Steering Committee prefers a fixed-price contract, with payments applied at the completion of major milestones. We are looking for all responses to the RFP to include the responder’s total estimated cost as well as suggested milestones.  

To be considered, please provide:
  • Your name and contact information 
  • Information about the skills you possess that are relevant to this opportunity, as well as  unique strengths/abilities you possess.  
  • Specific examples of past facilitation that has required navigating significant power  dynamics.  
  • At least two references that can speak to the skills needed for this opportunity. 
  • A draft of how you might structure learning groups to lead them to develop possible  solutions/experiments to test within the three-month timeframe. 

Proposals should be e-mailed to Layla Garms ( by close of business on Friday, February 5, 2021. Questions can also be directed to the same e-mail address.